Resource author Eileen Lindner draws on Belhar Confession to address fractious time
by Pat Cole | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – Pentecost is a time to consider “what becomes possible when God blows through your life with the wind of the Holy Spirit,” says the author of a new Presbyterian worship resource for Pentecost Sunday.
The author, the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, senior pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Tenafly, New Jersey, weaves that theme through the litanies and prayers of the resource, which is free and available for download.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day when Christians around the world celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is also the day congregations across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) receive the Pentecost Offering, which benefits children-at-risk, youth and young adults.
In her effort to encourage people to ponder God’s new possibilities, Lindner selected excerpts from the Belhar Confession that are to be read as an affirmation of faith. Belhar was written during the anti- apartheid struggles in South Africa, and Lindner says its focus on reconciliation and justice is a timely word for today’s church.
“Belhar is a contemporary example of the great miracle of reconciliation, the potential of reconciliation and the vocation of reconciliation,” she explains. “I wanted to use Belhar because Pentecost Sunday in 2017 comes at a very fractious time. It’s fractious within the church, fractious within the nation and fractious around the world. “
Belhar, she says, emphasizes that “God has entrusted the church with the message of reconciliation.” The 222nd General Assembly added the Belhar Confession to the PC(USA)’s Book of Confessions in 2016.
Justice for children, Lindner stresses, is another “high calling” that God has placed on the church. She says Pentecost Sunday is a particularly appropriate time to receive an offering that benefits children, youth and young adults.
Lindner notes the Holy Spirit, whom she calls the “constant companion of the church,” is a gift that will be extended to future generations. “It is so appropriate that we lift up children and young people on this occasion. It honors the message that the Holy Spirit will be available and present to you.”
The church’s understanding of Pentecost Sunday as the birthday of the church is another reason to emphasize children during Pentecost worship, Lindner adds. “Who is more excited about a birthday than children?”
Forty percent of the Pentecost Offering is retained by congregations to help children, youth and young adults in their communities. The remaining 60 percent goes to national church ministries that serve people in this age range, a critical time in human development that is often called the “first third of life.” More information about the Pentecost Offering and resources to promote it are available online.
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Categories: Evangelism & Discipleship, Faith & Worship, Special Offerings
Tags: belhar, children, confession, Eileen Lindner, holy spirit, offering, pcusa, pentecost, presbyterian, special offering, young adults, youth
Ministries: Youth Ministry, Theology, Formation & Evangelism, Child Advocacy, Special Offerings, Young Adult Ministries, Young Adult Volunteers, Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries